Hiking the Pyrenees: Estanys de Tristaina

in Pinmapple2 months ago

And so begins our three day Andorra hike in the Pyrenees Mountain range.

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After arriving at the train station in L'Hospitalet France we took a pre-arranged taxi across the border, into the country of Andorra. It only took us about an hour to cross most of the entire country by car, which sort of gives you an idea of just how small the country of Andorra is.

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Andorra is located drectly within the Pyrenees mountains on the border of France and Spain. It is one of the smallest countries in Europe and has a population of only 80 thousand people. Source

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Skiing and hiking are probably the biggest pastime activities in the country (I'm guessing), based on how things looked while driving through each town and village.

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Many of the towns were ski villages and they all sort of looked exactly the same to me. They were all made up of modern grey stone buildings, ski shops and chalet style restaurants and almost everyone that we saw had at least one chairlift heading up a mountain.

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Our cab dropped us off around 11am a little ways past the town of El Serrat where we originally planned to begin our journey. We actually ended up hitchhiking a little further up the mountain with a Spanish couple and their friend. They dropped us off at a ski resort near Estanys de Tristaina.

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The elevation was between 2200-2400 meters at that point and I remember being tired almost immediately upon starting out.

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I chalked it up to not sleeping at all in the train the night before, and not having a coffee or breakfast that day. In hindsight, the elevation probably played a role in it as well, along with me not being in as good of shape as I needed to be.

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The pretending to be candid but actually posing photo... (Obviously)

We stopped after about 15 minutes into the hike to scarf down some trail mix, energy bars and electrolyte water and I actually did feel quite a bit better after that.

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The squinting into the sun selfie

Our first first sightseeing stop that day was to Lake Tristaina, a small body of water created by glacier melt off.

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The standard path went around the lake and then headed in a different direction,

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but the lake wasn't far from where we started, so we decided to veer off the path and try to reach one of the mountain peaks a little in the opposite direction from where we were going.

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Before traveling to Andorra we made a high level plan for each day of the hike with some main destinations to ground us along our journey. But we also left a lot of leeway for improvisation based on time, especially that first day since we didn't know exactly when we would be arriving.

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Overall, we found it really difficult to plan the hike from home because there weren't a lot of pre-made trails online for where we wanted to go. My hiking companion ended up splicing a few different hikes together to make it work for us and for the most part it worked out in the end.

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During the hike itself we found that the trails were somewhat hard to follow at times. The trails were marked, but not always well, and the color of yellow paint that they used actually matched the yellow rock lichen that grew in the area. In some places the lichen grew in a circle that was roughly the same size as the circular spray paint dot used for the trail marker, so at times it was hard to tell which was which from a distance.

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In the photo below you can see the trail marker beside my friends hand. That one is pretty clear because the lichen is smaller and growing more sporadically on the rock. In that same photo you can see some of the yellow lichen growing on the rocks as well, which might give you an idea of what we were dealing with when cases were a little less ideal.

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Anyway, we made a few wrong turns along the way and had to double back to find the path.

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One thing that we were a little worried about when planning the trip was whether or not the peaks would still be covered in snow in the month of June. Neither of us were all that familiar with the Pyrenees so we really weren't sure what to expect when we got there.

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Most of the snow was melted by that time but there were still a few patches here and there, scattered across the landscape.

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We took a few much needed and much deserved breaks along the way. Basically after any push up a steep incline.

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We also stopped periodically for a quick photo op now and again.

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I hope he's okay with me posting photos of him on here...

in his case it was "for the Gram,"

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I call this my "horrendous backpack posture."

and in my case it was "for the Hive."

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We hiked passed the lake and all of the pink flowers, up to a mountain pass that I believe was near the Peak de Tristaina.

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The photo below it of the trail markers located at the pass. I believe that the peak was another hours away in a direction not towards the refuge where we would be spending the night.

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Regardless, we decided to just spend a few moments at the pass and then head back down to the lake and continue on our way. We had at least 5 more hours left of hiking to get to where we would be staying the night.

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The views up there were pretty awesome as you could imagine.

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Estany de Mes Amunt and del Mig

There were lakes on both sides of the pass, though I don't know the name of the one on the opposite side from where we came from.

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It was extremely windy up there as you might expect and my friends hat blew off his head unexpectedly.

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I was like, "Damn, well I guess thats gone forever," but he was like "Fuck that. That was my favorite hat!" and proceeded to run down the opposite side of the mountain from where we were going to retrieve it. To my surprise, he was able to find it pretty quickly. It only took him about 10-15 minutes (maybe even less).

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The same thing ended up happening to him again the very next day and again to my surprise he was again able to go and get it.

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After the minor ordeal at the pass we took another short break and then headed back down the mountain, on to our next location.

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Well thats it for now. If you are interested in seeing more of our Andorra Pyrenees Hike than stay tuned, there's more to come. Until then, thanks for stopping by.

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Stunning views and you captured those photos from great vantage points.
You're channeling a young Clint Eastwood it seems?

Haha Clint Eastwood because of the hat and squinting? Yeah I suppose so 😂
Pew pew pew

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🤣 Haha! I think I'll pull that move one day, just not when the cops pull me over 😂

Good luck 😁

That was a pretty cool excursion!!! Bonus points for finding the hat again.

If you wave from the top of the Pyrenees, we will wave back at ya from the Gers next time!

We just crossed the Pyrenees yesterday and it was snowing, -4c and freezing!

I'll bring a pair of binoculars next time.
That would be a scenic drive I'm sure.

Love the hat. The great white hunter hard on the trail. 😀

You probably like it because I bought it in Germany lol. I call it my hiking hat. I love it.

Wow, what a beautiful area. So fun that we both did hiking posts today!

That is funny that we both posted about hikes. 😁

He wants to get a strap for that hat! :OD

Those hills, stones and the water in between all looks so similar to the Scottish highlands. When it is sunny that is! Very 'gram'able!

Yeah he definitely needed a string for the hat. I actually put one in mine in anticipation and stole one of my wife's beads to keep it snug haha

Clever thinking! Would save all that running up and down!

Haha indeed. It was crazy windy up there as you could imagine.

Such a stunning area, wow. I can imagine following paths set out from afar must be hard to follow when you are actually there. The paths are so hard to see.
The scenery though is stunning wow 🤩 beautiful!

Yeah the paths were somewhat hard to follow but the scenery did make it worth it

It did… such a beautiful place 😎😊

Wow, the yellow really does blend in, especially in the sun. Nice to hike in these surroundings.

Yeah some spots were worse than others in terms of the markers. The landscape was nice though.

What a beautiful post, I loved the photos of those mountains full of green. I live in a place with a lot of mountains, but they are ones with almost no vegetation, hehe. They are also very beautiful.

I have never been to Andorra and although I knew it is one of the smallest countries in Europe, I didn't know it had a population of 80 thousand inhabitants! Very few! I understand that at the moment there is an intense immigration wave in that country.

Beautiful walk, they look very happy! I imagine it is impossible not to be happy in front of so many natural wonders!

I didn't realize that about immigration there. I wonder what is drawing people there. Maybe the beauty of it or maybe everyone just want to work at a ski hill. 🤔

There is no beauty without struggle not😅And you have made it to the top where the beauty is and it is so incredible

There is no beauty without struggle

That's a good line. I like it. It was true for this hike, thats for sure.

Agreed, I totally understand that
Thanks for the response🙏

No problem. Have a good weekend. 👍

You too, have a good weekend 🙏

Im out of words.. It's just so amazing place.. The kind of place I want to explore too

It was quite nice. Any mountain hike is beautiful in my opinion. I wish I lived closer to them and could hike them every weekend.

Those places with a little population are always the right thing for a new trip and journey out there. Not for a few times I've been surprised by places like this instead of the the overcrowded ones with lots of tourists and inhabitants :)

Yeah, any place with its natural beauty left intact is something special. I love being on the mountains away from civilization

I am envious, that looks to be an epic trip - I look forward to reading the next installment :-)

It was a pretty awesome trip. It actually got better each day, minus a few struggles for me along the way lol

omg , just look at those views, really interesting and beautiful. sure you guys had loads of fun?😍

Thanks. Yeah it was a lot of fun and great views the entire time pretty much.

that's absolutely fantastic

Greetings friends, how beautiful all that experience and journey that you shared with us, a place loaded with a lot of flora and above all, each place that you visited was perfect, it was worth all that walking and all the travel to get to that place. Very nice photos. Greetings.

It was quite the experience for us. It was the longest and most challenging hike I had ever done so it left a lasting impression on me.

One thing have come to appreciate about your post is that the pictures always come out fantastic and the view is also something else. Great job Sir and thanks for sharing this.

Thank so much. I'm glad you liked the pictures.

What a breathtaking scenery! I don't see any house except the one small building. Lucky you to have explored here.

Yeah there weren't any houses that high up on the mountain. I didn't take any photos of the towns that we drove through because I didn't think that photos from a moving car would worth while

Ah, now I know. Thanks! Have a nice day!

You too 😁

you are really brave to consider starting the trip without even having breakfast, I would have fainted after 5 minutes haha :D
your friend going after the hat is memorable

beautiful photos, especially where there was snow! <3

haha yeah. I didn't have a choice since we took a train and didn't see anywhere to get food on our arrival. Good thing we packed food ourselves.

Amazing place to move on!
Soothing surrounding!
!PIZZA

Yeah it was a nice spot indeed, with a beautiful landscape.

It's pure magic to travel and get to know new customs and places as cool as this one, obviously it can be a bit hard on your physical condition due to the altitude and the climate, but the good thing is that you adapt quickly, that's the good thing about being a good traveler!

You're right about adapting. That's very true. I felt better the next day during g our next hike.

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The water from the melting ice is really a small lake and the scenery is so beautiful I want to go there and I saw the beautiful scenery there, the hiking was really tiring and you still have a smile.

Yes indeed. All of those things 😁
The lake was small and would have been very cold, too cold to swim in but it was beautiful in that landscape

Beautiful... makes me want to go for a hike right now.. love trekking and nature...

I do as well. I wish I lived near mountains.

I like beautiful scenery. I can see a wide view.

Me as well. 👍

It is pure magic to travel and get to know new customs and places as cool as this one, obviously it can be a bit hard on your physical condition due to the altitude and the climate. It was quite the experience for us.

Yes rhats very true. Yeah it was very challenging but a lot of fun.

Thanks dear

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Thanks. I appreciate the support 😁

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Great job Sir and thanks for sharing this. Greetings friends, how beautiful all that experience and journey that you shared with us, a place loaded with a lot of flora and above all, each place that you visited was perfect

Thanks for stopping by...again 😉😂